Apple Music today announced the latest featured artist in its Africa Rising artist development program is eccentric Nigerian-born Afropop singer-songwriter YKB (real name Yusuf Oluwo).
“As an African boy who makes music my goal is to communicate life through my lens,” he tells Apple Music. “I hope that people can relate and learn from it, so I’m super grateful to Apple Music for making me an Africa Rising Artist.
Also, I’m grateful to my fans, the ‘activ.ones’, whose actions towards my music have helped me get here. My plan is to continue to tell my stories and continue to make ‘yusful’ music.”
An acronym for Yusuf Kan Bai, which is Yoruba for “one Yusuf like that”, YKB grew up in Ketu, Lagos and fostered a love of music and crafting melodies from a young age. Fusing Afrobeats, R&B, trap and hip-hop, YKB has steadily built the most solid fan bases as an independent artist, culminating in the release of his 7-track debut album Before I Blow (2021).
Flexing his melodic range, YKB’s single “San Siro” (2022), tells the story of a love that’s big enough to fill up Milan’s beloved soccer stadium, simultaneously capturing the essence of what it’s like to fall madly in love. His latest single “bo card (things I need)” (2023), available to stream on Apple Music in Spatial Audio now, is another stimulatingly smooth offering from the singer that finds him professing the magnitude of love he has for his lady, underpinned by saxophone-flecked melody.
The latest music from YKB along with that of Africa’s hottest new artists, is also available now on the Apple Music Africa Rising Playlist.
Discover Africa Rising here: applemusic.com/africarising
Apple Music’s Africa Rising, is an exclusive artist development programme and companion playlist geared towards identifying, showcasing and elevating rising talent and introducing the next generation of African superstars.
Africa Rising alumni to date include: Omah Lay, Manu Worldstar, Tems, Amaarae, Ayra Starr, Yaw Tog, Blxckie and Nikita Kering.
Africa Rising sees Apple Music select six artists every year who each receive a minimum of two months of editorial support across the Apple Music platform including a launch interview with Nadeska on Apple Music 1. Nadeska has also launched a new weekly Africa Rising feature on her show highlighting the hottest new artists on the continent.
Africa Rising is the latest of many Apple Music initiatives aimed at taking African talent to the world. Now available in 33 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, Apple Music 1 is home to Africa Now Radio with host LootLove which has featured interviews with some of the continent’s hottest artists such as Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Cassper Nyovest, Mr Eazi, Patoranking, Rayvanny, Kiddominant, Mayorkun, Fireboy DML, Adekunle Gold, Master KG, Yaw Tog, Blxckie, Nikita Kering, Buju, FAVE, Nomfundo Moh and Moliy.
Apple Music also selected Nigerian Afrobeats singer-songwriter Tems as its Up Next artist in 2021, Nigerian Afropop star Rema in 2020, Grammy Award-winning Afrofusion superstar Burna Boy in 2019, and Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi as the first recipient in 2017. Up Next is Apple Music’s global emerging artist program.
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